Planning a new campaign can be a difficult task in the best of times, but it can become a nightmare when you need to anticipate traffic volume and seasonal performance variation. When you add in new device targets, or want to expand in to entirely new verticals? That’s another challenge entirely.
Luckily, there are tools available to us now to handle each of those issues, many of which can be found directly in the Bing Ads Campaign Planner.
What is it?
The Campaign Planner is a unique tool found in the Bing Ads Interface that gives you, the advertiser, marketplace insights by vertical, product and keyword. It also gives you visibility in to seasonal trends with Year over Year performance, search volume location tips and device performance trends. Basically, it’s a one-stop shop you can use to make informed decisions about new campaigns and targeting options.
Use case #1: Location & device bid modifiers
When you’re opening a new campaign blind, it can be useful to do your homework ahead of time to understand how performance is going to vary by location. With certain terms, geographic demand is going to vary wildly and you can get an idea of what that will look like through the use of the “Search volume by location” functionality.
Let’s take the keyword “Seahawks jerseys” as an example:
No surprise here, but we can expect our search volume here to come primarily from Washington, as well as California and Oregon. If this term is to go in to a campaign just targeting Seahawks fans, then we can use that as our basis for location targets, either targeting them exclusively, or by implementing heavy positive bid modifiers to ensure that we’re always showing in our strongest regions.
But if this is going in to a national campaign shared with other teams, that location target & bid modifier may not make as much sense at the campaign level. Luckily, with Bing Ads we have the ability to get a little more specific with the Ad Group level override:
Here, we get the best of both worlds with our location targets- we can still target the United States as a whole with our regular bid intact, but the additional specificity at the ad group level means we can be more aggressive with Seahawk-related searches coming from the state of Washington without needing a new campaign to do so.
We can also employ a similar strategy with our device targets, too. Here’s that same “Seahawks jerseys” keyword, but this time we’re looking at the “Performance by device” snapshot:
Unlike the location report, this is a surprise. Based on this data, the majority of traffic volume on this particular keyword is coming from mobile, with Smartphones holding a commanding 46.2% of the searches here. Were we to go with a campaign-level device bid adjustment (or worse, not target mobile at all), we’d be losing out on a big opportunity to grab more of this traffic.
TIP: The same Ad Group setting override we talked about with locations also applies to devices.
So with this information, even though I haven’t done any advertising for Seahawks jerseys prior to this, I still know that my ad group (or campaign) should have a heavy emphasis on the Pacific Northwest. More importantly, I need to make mobile advertising an emphasis -- both in terms of device targeting -- but also the mobile site experience/conversion process, all thanks to the Campaign Planner.
Use Case #2: Budgeting for Seasonality
Almost every business has some amount of seasonality to it, but it’s not always easy to predict, especially without any prior experience with that product or vertical. With the “Search volume trends” report, though, it’s a piece of cake:
Right now, we’re looking at a year-over-year snapshot of search volume trends for the Education and Training vertical. I’m looking at both 2013 and 2014 to easily identify consistent seasonal swings, which we can definitely see here. June, July, and August are definite dips, while traffic volume explodes starting in September. Immediately, we can see that budget and traffic will suffer over the summer doldrums, but rapidly recover after that, so we should pace our budgets for the year accordingly.
(Long-time education advertisers are vigorously nodding their heads in agreement right now.)
Here’s the above data put in to Excel, and we immediately see the seasonality laid out in numerical form. In the summer, this industry sees a dip of roughly 25-30% in June, and an even more severe 40% dip in July. If you’re making budget decisions for 2015 in this vertical, you should strongly consider reallocating your summer funds to autumn… as well as possibly increasing your budget, since overall traffic volume is up by 20% year-over-year.
Use Case #3: Sizing up the Competition
As big a fan as I am of Auction Insights, there is one drawback: it only gives insight in to your current competitors, and only for when you’re actually showing your ad. It doesn’t give you an idea of your competitive landscape for new keywords, but the Campaign Planner can.
Sure, you can just search for a few of your theoretical keywords and see who pops up on the results page, but that’s contingent on your geographic location, device used, time of day, their budget… basically, it doesn’t paint an accurate picture of who you’ll be going up against in your new campaign. Going back to the “Seahawks jerseys” example, we get an immediate idea of who we’ll be competing against most often:
While the above domains have been obscured to protect the innocent, we can still see that there’s one dominant player in this space- they dominate position 1 a whopping 80.6% of the time, with two others jockeying for positions 2 and 3 below them.
You can go beyond keyword-level insights, too. Every single vertical and vertical sub-category on the left provides you with the option of seeing who you’ll be competing against, so if you’re adding in a ton of keywords focused on a specific vertical, you’ll get a great high-level view of who your newest competitors will be.
These are just three theoretical use cases; I still haven’t even touched on the product and keyword breakdowns and the ability to save favorite products for research later. They’re all useful, and I look forward to finding new and novel ways to use them.
If you have other favorite uses behind this tool you’d like to share, or would like to see more out of it, let us know in the comments or ping us on Twitter.